The National Transport Authority, which is the transport regulator, has selected six subsidised bus routes in Waterford city, including the Tramore service, for competitive tender from December 2016, along with a number of commuter services to Dublin.
There is a strong tradition of private operators in the Waterford/Southeast region who can bid for these contracts. Bus Éireann will also be able to tender.
The Department of Transport is of the firm view that should these six city routes be taken up by a private operator, it will not undermine the viability of Bus Éireann’s operations in Waterford.
The Waterford Public Service Obligation (PSO) services to be tendered comprise about 16 buses, or 15% of the overall operation of the Depot. Commercial intercity ‘Expressway’ services, which aren’t subvented, as well as school transport, will remain wholly with Bus Éireann.
This is not designed to be a downgraded service — rather the opposite. This controlled pilot competition aims to generate higher commuter take-up, better value for money, and a lower State subvention requirement.
As per Bus Eireann’s current contract, the NTA will set and monitor service levels, timetables and fares. It’s intended that free State travel passes will be honoured by any new operator.
July 2, 2014